Tennessee – It’s a short hike to this rustic backcountry lodge

Photo: Charit Creek Lodge, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area Set deep within the woods of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area on the Tennessee-Kentucky border, Charit Creek Lodge is the perfect weekend getaway for families looking to rough it—with some amenities. Charit Creek is one of only a handful of backcountry lodges in the country that cannot be reached by car. To get there, guests park their car and hike, bike or ride horseback along either of two well-maintained trails (1.2 miles or 1.7 [...]

November 18th, 2015|Categories: Mountains, Tennessee, Trails, Unique Stays|Tags: , |

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee – Tag Monarch butterflies in Cades Cove

Tremont offers free monarch tagging programs each fall. (Photo: Tiffany Beachy, GSMIT) Fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee is dazzling, with crisp hues of red, brown, yellow and orange painting the landscape. Each September and October, the park features another autumn spectacle—the migration of the monarch butterfly. Each fall, these bright orange and black butterflies dance through the Smokies as they begin their journey south to overwinter in Mexico. Ongoing research and tagging programs are helping scientists track monarchs, identify migration routes and understand the dynamics of the population. [...]

October 6th, 2015|Categories: Conservation Education, Mountains, Parks, Tennessee, Wildlife Wonder|Tags: |

Sliding Rock, N.C. – Natural Water Slide Thrills

Sliding Rock is a 60-foot natural water slide located near Brevard, N.C. (Photo: RomanticAsheville.com) Sliding Rock is a natural water slide long-used by adventurous tourists looking for a fun way to cool off during the hot summer months. Located on Looking Glass Creek in the Pisgah National Forest near the quaint college town of Brevard, North Carolina, this water feature is a popular place to cool off and enjoy outdoor family fun during the South’s sweltering summer months. This slab of rock offers a 60-foot-long gentle slide, landing swimmers into large pool [...]

September 11th, 2015|Categories: Mountains, North Carolina, Rivers|Tags: , |

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee – History and small-town fun in the Smoky Mountains

The Island Show Fountain in Pigeon Forge offers entertaining water shows every 30 minutes. (Photo: Jenni Veal) Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has it all: dazzling shows, knockdown museums; outrageous rides; endless shopping; close proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and, of course, the legend of Dolly Parton and her dominion, Dollywood. However, if you peek within the nooks and crannies of Pigeon Forge, there’s even more to be found there—something heartfelt, like nostalgia. On a recent tween weekend getaway with my two daughters and my best friend’s daughter, we experienced [...]

September 1st, 2015|Categories: Mountains, Tennessee|Tags: , , |